In New York City alone, around 2750 people were killed by American Airlines flight 11 and United Airlines flight 175 crashing into the south and north towers of the World Trade Center. Terrorists hijacked the two aircrafts in flight and turned them into fissile missiles.
The then New York City Mayor was Rudolph Giuliani. When the attacks happened, Giuliani was as ignorant toward the nature and background of the attacks as everyone else. Giuliani admitted that although the city was trained for terrorist attacks after the 1993 truck bomb attack on the World Trade Center, the NYC was not prepared for an attack from the sky, especially when planes used as missiles.
Giuliani later said that he, along with former NYC Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, had to act on their “gut” and “instinct.” Giuliani continued saying to Newsmax “we don’t want to delay, because delay is the worst thing you can do in an emergency, so sometimes we’re going to go with less than all the information we need. We have to go on our gut. And then how about we say a little prayer? And we say, God, you please make it right?”
Some people had criticized Giuliani, saying that the high number of deaths was caused by his insufficient preparation before the attacks. However, more comments have praised Mayor Giuliani for his quick reaction. Giuliani was only two blocks away from the World Trade Center, and when the first tower came crumbling down, Giuliani was swallowed by the dust the debris kicked up.
Fortunately, he survived and walked out from the ash to continue his work as the mayor of a city in danger.
On the other side of east coast, President George W. Bush, the president of the time, was visiting Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota,Florida when the attacks happened. At first, Mr. Bush accompanying staff received the incorrect report of a small plane crashing into the World Trade Center due to an accident.
Few minutes later, more of complete report came in, the White House Chief of Staff at the time, Andrew Card, walked into the classroom where Mr. Bush was reading a book with a class of second grade students. Card then whispered to Mr. Bush “A second plane hit the second tower, America is under attack.” That startling moment was captured by the journalist at the time.
To avoid the students from receiving the sense of fear and terror, Mr. Bush remained calm for the first few seconds. But according to video recording, it is very clear that Mr. Bush’s facial expression has changed. The U.S. President’s first reaction to the 9/11 terror attack was also captured in video, and broadcasted worldwide.
“I was very impressed that he did nothing to introduce fear to those students. He did nothing to demonstrate fear to the media that would’ve satisfied terrorists all around the world.” Card said later on, according to Sky News.
At an appropriate moment, Mr. Bush finished his classroom visit and boarded Air Force One.
Later on, Andrew Card told CNBC that Mr. Bush made a lesser-known phone call during the flight out of Florida. The receiver of the call was the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“One thing a lot of people don’t realize, he called President Putin, one of the first calls he made from Air Force One,” said Card during an interview with Shepard Smith. “He [Mr. Bush] said, ‘Don’t think we’re going to war with you, I don’t want you doing anything stupid over there. We’re going to be transparent, this is a problem for you as well, we can’t allow terrorism to stand.”
At 8:30 pm Eastern Time on September 11th, 2001, Mr. Bush addressed the country, saying a line that would signal the beginning of the United States’s twenty years of military activities in the Middle East: “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”